James Toney has not had a boxing match since 2009. He is 42 years and not ranked in the Top 10 of any major boxing organization. None of these daunting hurdles have deterred the future Hall of Famer, who declared today that he would unify the division by defeating both Klitschko brothers and David Haye.
Toney holds a belt by a fringe organization known as the IBA (International Boxing Association). That doesn’t stop Lights Out from calling himself the heavyweight champion of the world. According to him, it’s the fighter who makes the belt, and he feels even in his 40s his skills far surpass the current titleholders.
“Anyone keeps trying to knock my title. But you know what it’s the person who makes the belt,” Toney told Beats, Boxing & Mayhem. “My name James Toney speaks for itself. I thank Damon Reed for stepping up to the plate because everyone is scared to fight me, emphasis on the Bitchko sisters and David Gaye. I’m ready to fight on February 24. I’m the top dog in the heavyweight division.”
During Toney’s absence from the ring, he dabbled in MMA by taking on legend Randy Couture in his very first bout. Despite being badly outclassed and submitted easily in the first round, he vows that he’ll continue to be a two-sport athlete.
“What happened last August was a fluke. I promise you it’ll never happen again,” he vowed. “Right now I’m back on my real grind. Everyone knows I’m the best heavyweight in the world….I’m not worried about going to Europe to fight the Bitchko sister and David Gaye. They’re cowards!”
The best James Toney has looked in his eight year heavyweight run is when his weight hits no higher than the low 220s. He surprised many critics in 2009 when he came in at 217.5 for his last boxing match against Matthew Greer, where he scored a 2nd round KO. However, for his most recent fight last year against Couture, he weighed in at a career-high 237 pounds.
When pressed about his weight for this fight, Toney remained non-committal and only offered jokes. But the Detroit fighter did verify he’s back training with Freddie Roach, who he split with back in 2007 following his second loss to Samuel Peter.
“I plan to be 297 pounds. If I train really hard, maybe about 296,” he quipped. “In my own opinion, I would love to fight how I used to, about 6-7 times a year. But I hope I can at least get in four this year…I’m back at the Wildcard [gym] raising hell down there. Me and Freddie [Roach] back together again. We’ve had 3-4 sparring partners. We’re going to step it up next week.”
Toney turned pro in 1988. Aside from Bernard Hopkins, all his contemporaries have long since retired. While an avid fan of old school fighters like Ezzard Charles, he gives respect to young fighters when it’s earned. Regarding last week’s superfight letdown between Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley, he praised the latter’s performance and determination. Speaking on the former, he characterized Alexander’s headbutt excuse as a quit job.
“It was a good fight, but I think my man Alexander quit,” Toney explained to Beats, Boxing & Mayhem. “When you get cut and act like you shaking your head like that…I’ve been cut before. I was cut so bad against Frankie Littles I couldn’t even see. When the referee said he was going to stop the right, I said ‘you better not.’ I said ‘let’s go and do what you got to do.’ Alexander quit. The fight was one-sided, and Bradley did what he had to do to win outside of the headbutts.”
James Toney’s February 24 bout against Damon Reed will be shown via tape delay by Fox Sports Net.